How Much Money Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering?

man in wheelchair going up ramp near stairs

If you’ve been the victim of a personal injury, you may be entitled to a number of different damages. One specific damage type includes pain and suffering. Pain and suffering can be associated with a variety of lawsuit types including medical malpractice, slip and fall accidents, car accidents, and more.

Regardless of the type of lawsuit you are filing, understanding and calculating pain and suffering damages remains relatively the same. Let’s go over some of the nuances associated with pain and suffering so that you have a clearer understanding of your rights when navigating a personal injury lawsuit. 

Personal Injury Lawsuits and Pain and Suffering 

After filing a personal injury lawsuit, associated damages can include pain and suffering. Unlike compensation for medical expenses and other tangible expenses associated with your injury, pain and suffering are typically used to describe intangible losses. 

If you are navigating a personal injury lawsuit, it’s essential to understand how pain and suffering play into that lawsuit. 

Pain and suffering fall under the umbrella of non-economic damages. Unlike losses such as medical bills, property loss, and loss of income, noneconomic damages assess losses that cannot be valued at a tangible level. While a monetary value is attached to these losses eventually, that value is unique to the circumstances of your personal injury. 

What is pain and suffering? 

Unlike tangible losses, including medical expenses, property damage, and other expenses, pain and suffering describe intangible losses that an individual may face after a personal injury. For this reason, it can often be difficult to define the suffering and pain associated with a personal injury. 

Typically, however, pain and suffering is used to describe the associated pain with the injury and any suffering that may have followed, both in the short term and in the long term. 

What are the different types of pain and suffering? 

Depending on the specific circumstances of your injury, pain and suffering can come in all forms. Pain and suffering is categorized into two groups: physical suffering following your injury, as well as the mental anguish associated with the injury and the circumstances. 

Take, for example, a slip-and-fall injury. An individual who suffers broken bones following the injury may suffer physical pain because of the injury, treatment, and healing process. They may also suffer mental anguish because they may no longer be able to enjoy life the way they used to or participate in activities that bring them both fulfillment and joy. In extreme cases where traumatic injury has occurred, the mental anguish of that traumatic inventory can be substantial, having lifelong impacts. 

Typical examples of pain and suffering can include but are not limited to the following: 

  • Physical pain
  • Physical disfigurement 
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Sadness
  • Loneliness
  • Loss of Companionship 

How is pain and suffering calculated?

woman with lower back pain

There is no one set calculator for pain and suffering. Instead, a variety of factors are considered in order to determine the percentage of damages you will be awarded. What is clear is the different factors that are used to determine this percentage. Let’s go over some of the main factors that go into determining pain and suffering. 

Consider the Extent of Your Injuries 

The severity of your injuries plays a significant role in determining your pain and suffering. This goes for both physical pain and mental anguish. 

For example, an individual who suffers third-degree burns over the majority of their body will undoubtedly face more mental anguish and pain than an individual who suffers broken bones from a simple slip and fall. Burn injuries might also have long-lasting impacts, including scarring of the tissue and extensive physical therapy treatments.

Both long-term and short-term impacts of your injury are considered when determining damages for pain and suffering.

Consider How Your Injuries Will Impact You

The manner in which your injuries will impact you both in the short-term and long-term are also considered when calculating damages. If your injuries will significantly reduce your quality of life, you may be entitled to a higher compensation percentage. Conversely, if you suffer an injury that can be easily remedied, this will be taken into consideration as well when determining damages. 

Providing Evidence for Pain and Suffering

As your personal injury lawsuit is litigated, you will need to provide proof that you are entitled to pain and suffering. Proof of pain and suffering takes many forms but is often proved with tangible documents. Ways to prove your pain and suffering can include but are not limited to the following: 

  • Statements from doctors, physical therapists, and other medical professionals
  • Medical bills and records indicating the extensive treatment you’ve received
  • Witness testimony of the events that unfolded during your injury
  • Photographs and videos of your injury

Proving your pain and suffering is especially important when you are working with an insurance company. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, meaning many will try to limit payout amounts when going over a claim. By providing proof of your pain and suffering, you and your legal team can be better suited to negotiate the terms of a settlement. 

Calculating Settlement Amounts for Your Pain and Suffering

Although there is no simple damages calculator to use for determining pain and suffering, relying on the expertise of a personal injury attorney can help. 

Personal injury attorneys who have dealt with similar cases to yours can help you determine a range of compensation amounts you can expect. Additionally, experienced personal injury attorneys can help you navigate the nuances of your case so that you receive the maximum damage possible associated with your injury.

Finally, because there are no caps on damage associated with pain and suffering, it is important to work with an expert who will help you navigate all aspects of your claim. At Bernstein & Maryanoff, our experienced team of attorneys has a proven track record of nominal settlement verdicts. When you work with our legal team, you can be confident you’ll have dedicated professionals working on your behalf. 

Is working with a personal injury attorney right for me? 

If you have suffered a personal injury and feel that you are entitled to damages for your pain and suffering, it can be helpful to work with an experienced personal injury attorney. Working with a lawyer who understands the many nuances of a personal injury claim is one of the best ways to understand your rights following an injury. 

Sources 

Non-Economic Damages in Personal Injury Cases (2022) 

Pain and Suffering (2020) 

About the Author

attorney Jack Bernstein standing in front of a blurred background

Jack G. Bernstein, ESQ.

Jack Bernstein is a hard working and highly motivated personal injury attorney in Miami, Florida with over three decades of experience. He is a strategist and idea person, with a genuine passion for helping his firm’s clients. If you've been injured, contact Jack Bernstein today for a free evaluation of your case.

The information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.